Lotus buns are a classic sweet bun found all over China. They are prepared by steaming balls of dough containing lotus paste and can be found at every dim sum restaurants. Steamed buns are extremely popular snacks and most dim sum eaters will order it whenever they have dim sums. There are many versions of steam buns such as the also popular custard fillings, meat or vegetable versions.
I have decided to make mines to resemble hedgehogs. It does take a little bit longer to make or if you want just stick to the usual classic round buns. For the filling you can find lotus seed/lotus paste in your local Chinese supermarket. Be careful when biting into these buns as the center is always piping hot!
Ingredients and techniques are so important in this recipe.
• Try use bleached all-purpose flour as you want your buns to be the classic white buns and not the yellow/brownish colour you get from using unbleached flour.
• Resting time-Give enough resting time for the yeast to activate. Place a towel to cover the bowl and rest it for an hour.
• The kneading process- Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and knead the dough for 10-12 minutes until elastic, soft, smooth and not sticky. Add a spoonful of flour when you need during the kneading process. The dough should become less sticky and more firm. The kneading process ensures the dough will become soft and not too stodgy.
• Steaming process- Steam the buns over a very high heat for 10 minutes then open the lid to release some steam. Cover with lid again and continue steaming. This process ensures the buns do not get too wet and the surfaces of the buns will not crack due to the temperature.
The best thing about these buns are Once they are steamed and cooled down you can put them in the freezer. Re-steam over a high heat for 10 minutes. This way you can have some authentic classic buns as often and whenever you like.
Prep Time: 25- 30 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hours and 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
250g white, bleached all-purpose flour
60g granulated sugar
100 ml water
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon yeast
120 grams Lotus seed paste
Black or brown colour food pens
Parchment or baking paper cut into squares.
• Sift the flour into a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the dough ingredients. Add ¼ of the sieved flour. Mix into a batter. Cover with a cloth and rest for 15 minutes until the batter becomes frothy.
• After 15 minutes, add the remaining flour with the batter mixture. Please refer to the kneading process.
• After an hour, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and into a long log, cut into 8 portions. For each portion, roll into a flat, round pastry.
• Roll the filing into 8 balls. Place a ball of filling in the centre of the rolled out dough, wrap the dough around the filling, pinching the bottom to seal, close the dough. Place the sealed part of the bun onto parchment papers.
- Steam for 9 minutes under high heat, open the lid to let some steam escape. With a pair of scissors, snip just the top surface of the dough to resemble hedgehog spikes. Cover with lid again. Continue steaming for 6 minutes. Press the eyes area gently and put a little lotus paste to resemble the eyes or draw eyes with a black/ brown colour food pen. Enjoy!